The Open Orthopaedics Journal

ISSN: 1874-3250 ― Volume 15, 2021

Arthrodesis of the Distal Interphalangeal Joint and the Thumb Interphalangeal Joint: A Retrospective Comparison of Kirschner Wires and the Acutrak 2 Headless Compression Screw

Jens-Christian Vedel1, *, Rasmus Wejnold Jorgensen1, Claus Hjorth Jensen1
1 Hand Clinic, Department of Orthopedics, Herlev-Gentofte University Hospital of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark



Headless compression screws have become first choice for achieving arthrodesis in the distal interphalangeal joint and thumb interphalangeal joint. Only few comparisons between headless compression screws and other methods have been published.


To assess healing and complication rate after arthrodesis of the distal interphalangeal joint or the thumb interphalangeal joint using a headless compression screw or Kirschner wires.


A retrospective analysis of 148 consecutive primary fusions performed with the Acutrak 2 headless compression screw (n=107) or K-wires (n=41) was conducted. Healing was assessed clinically and radiographically at 6 to 8 weeks postoperatively.


In 89% of cases fusion had been achieved at 6 to 8 weeks postoperatively using the headless compression screw. 7 cases healed after 8 weeks. Secondary surgery with screw removal was required in 11 cases due to screw prominence, infection or non-union.

In 71% of cases fusion had been achieved at 6 to 8 weeks postoperatively using Kirschner wires showing a lower fusion rate at this stage as compared to the headless compression screw group (p<0.05). 9 joints in the Kirschner wire group fused at some point after 8 weeks of follow up yielding a total fusion rate of 93% which was similar to 96% in the headless compression screw group (p>0.05). One infection occurred in the Kirschner wire group.


Arthrodesis can be achieved with either a headless compression screw or Kirschner wires both showing equivalent total fusion rates though fusion may occur earlier using a headless compression screw.

Keywords: Arthrodesis, Interphalangeal joint, Kirschner wires, Headless compression screw, Fusion, Arthrodesis.

Article Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2019
Volume: 13
First Page: 166
Last Page: 169
Publisher Id: TOORTHJ-13-166
DOI: 10.2174/1874325001913010166

Article History:

Received Date: 15/12/2018
Revision Received Date: 27/03/2019
Acceptance Date: 03/04/2019
Electronic publication date: 31/07/2019
Collection year: 2019

© 2019 Vedel et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Hand Clinic, Department of Orthopedics, Herlev-Gentofte University Hospital of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark; Tel: +45 22 15 36 17; Email:

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